Seriously?? Two Weeks to Mourn the Loss of a Loved One?

Seriously??? The American Psychiatric Association has decided that grief should be classified and treated as a mental illness should certain symptoms last longer than two weeks. This offends me…and I’m sure I’m not the only one. As Christopher Lane in his piece in Psychology Today points out:

The APA is seriously proposing that anyone who can’t conclude their grief and mourning within two weeks could be liable for a diagnosis. Most people suffering a bereavement would scarcely be able to arrange a wake within that time, much less come to terms with the scale of their loss. Yet such is the APA’s astonishing presumption of efficient, on-schedule mourning that it is, in effect, giving everyone just two weeks to get over the loss of loved ones.

I am certainly no fan of the specified step/stages ascribed to the grieving process. Now someone has decided that two weeks is plenty of time for a scheduled period of dealing with loss and the symptoms accompanying deep grief. I have no problem with the bereaved seeking help in dealing with loss; however, this rigid mentality helps no one.

The Lancet – “Living with Grief

Psychology Today – “Good Grief: The APA Plans to Give the Bereaved Two Weeks to Conclude Their Mourning

© 2012 Rebecca R. Carney

Lane, Christopher. “Good Grief: The APA Plans to Give the Bereaved Two Weeks to Conclude Their Mourning.” Psychology Today, February 17, 2012. Online. Available: February 18, 2012.

20 thoughts on “Seriously?? Two Weeks to Mourn the Loss of a Loved One?

  1. They tend to go about these things in a way that astounds me. It took 6 months here before they would even consider I had something going on besides the deep grief of losing my sister, and that was even with depression present BEFORE she passed away. Now this post has me seeking out Canada’s version of this, if there even is one. Good food for thought though!

  2. It’s been almost 5 years since I lost my son – not a moment has passed for me since April 18, 2007 so I guess I’m still within that incredibly inane “two week grace period.” Love to you and all of us grieving parents who won’t ever fit into societal standards.

  3. This is so ridiculous. Most people in grief are still in a state of shock for the first two weeks.
    This smacks of ignorance. Have these people ever suffered from grief? I think not!
    There is now proof that one can die of a broken heart. I doubt that this fatality was always done within a two week period.

  4. What are they thinking? Normal grief lasts from 2 to 5 years. Complicated grief, such as multiple losses, loss of child, traumatic losses, or loss of someone with whom there is unreloved conflict, can last a lifetime if the griever doesn’t get help. This information comes from a great book by H. Norm Wright called Ovecoming the Losses of Life. He talks about the secondary losses that also occur. They can be as simple as having morning coffee together to the loss of the home. This would be a great book for your book list. Also, Please let your readers know about Growing Seasons: Helping Children Heal from Divorce and Other Losses. It is a Christian support group curriculum to be used in churches, etc. It is published by livingfree.ministries. Thanks for your great blog.

  5. Makes you wonder if anyone responsible for this decision has ever lost anyone or if they have a functioning heart? It took us 2 weeks before we could have the funeral service for my daughter, 4 weeks before we got her ashes, 6 weeks before we found out why she died. 2 weeks doesn’t cover the ‘business’ side of death, let alone how I , my husband, mother, father, aunts, uncles and friends were ‘dealing’ with it.
    One of the many things I have come to understand is that I will never stop grieving for my daughter.

  6. I cannot believe this! It doesn’t seem possible that a mental health professional could even come close to believing this tight timeline…for any strong emotional response , frankly, but grief? Disturbing, to say the least. Debra

  7. That is astonishing. I do remember listening to a radio interview here in Australia when there was discussion on sadness being a mental illness. People have reasons for being sad. It is normal to be sad. As with the other comments, I do not believe I will ever ‘get over’ the loss of my daughter. For me, 125 weeks is a blink of an eye – those first two weeks are lost in fog. I think I was in shock for at least a year.

  8. First of all, I wanted to thank you for visiting my blog and liking my post about my last day with my brother. You are so right on when you talk about all the factors that make the journey of grief such a unique experience for each person. I’ve been amazed at how differently each of us in our family have handled my brother’s death.

    Second of all, about this post, in particular…..Wow. That’s infuriating! How DARE they put a time limit on grief? But I don’t suppose they would listen to our protests, since – according to them – we are all mentally ill.

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